How to Fight Workout Excuses (And When to Give In)

Shannon Farrell


Taking an off day is imperative to sustaining a healthy workout schedule. But once those off days stack up in one week, its best you nip that little voice inside your head in the bud. You know, the one making all those excuses to take a rain check on your gym date. In a healthy lifestyle there are no excuses. Allow trainer Rahman Grayson, aka Mr Shut Up And Train, to talk you through your most used excuses.

I don’t have time.
Bottom line: everyone has a little time. The key is to plan ahead, says Grayson. If you put exercise into your schedule [even placing it on your calendar], Im sure you can find 20-40 minutes a day, a couple day a week, to get it done.

I had a stressful day at work. Wine is what I really need.
Save the pinot for after the gym. Exercise is actually one of the best stress relievers. Whatever your stress may be, take it out on your workout. No one ever says they regret a workout.

I use a standing desk at work. Who needs to hit the gym?
The workout gadgets enhance your routine (and lifestyle), but they don’t offer full benefits. A workout is all about intensity. You can stand at work all day, and thats a great added bonus, but thats just a supplement to an actual workout regimen.

I don’t have access to the gym.
This is a smokescreen for someone saying they don’t want to put in the time or money for the gym. It doesnt take much. All you need are cheap sneakers and a few workout clothes. With a set of dumbbells, a jump rope and a mat, you can do 60 or 70 different workouts at home. Plus, there are hundreds of online programs you can do anywhere, including Grayson’s Total Fit Challenge–a 21-day program that offers at home workouts and nutritional tips.

I haven’t seen my friends in weeks. Happy hour is a must!
Tell your friends to meet you at the bar–the pull-up bar. I encourage people all the time to take classes with their friends, go on walks or jogs in the park. [A study shows that] 65 percent are more likely to stick to a workout program if they have the accountability of a workout partner. Schedule your next friend date at the gym, and head for a brewski after.

It’s dark by the timeĀ I leave work!
Take this as your excuse to work out in the morning. Get your personal development out of the way in the morning–exercise, mediation, whatever it is. This is the one time of the day you can control. Who knows what the day will bring. [Also] if you exercise first thing, it gets you committed to a healthy lifestyle early in the day and that carries through. Plus, studies have shown you burn more fat exercising in the a.m.

My muscles are sore.
Soreness is good–it shows you’re working hard. However, it doesnt constitute for an off day. If one muscle group is sore, you can always work another muscle group. Not to mention, oftentimes you feel better once you get the blood flowing in that particular muscle group. Turns out, some of our excuses are warranted. Grayson lays down a few.

I had a bad night’s sleep.
If you’re not well rested and don’t feel like you can get through and complete your workout effectively, then you should reschedule your workout. Listen to your body and decide how much rest you really need. Maybe you can go a little later or alter the intensity. If youre functioning on zero sleep, its better to rest and recover. Lack of sleep can lead to food cravings, a horrible workout, and just a bad day across the board.

I think I’m injured.
While we don’t recommend self-diagnosis, listening to your body is key to differentiating injury from soreness. Its not always going to feel good when youre talking about stretching, tearing and ripping new muscles. But if it feels worse than discomfort, take a rest. When you’re injured, you have to let your body recover.

I’m sick!
I tell my clients, if your sickness is above the chest, you should be alright. If its below–you have body aches, nausea, cramping–then you want to take it easy and take a day [off]. Working out may worsen your symptoms.

Read more from Daily Makeover: “Fickle” Fitness Could Be the Secret to a Perfect Body